What have we learned in the last decade? What have I learned? Am I synched with this city I love so well? After all, I write and claim the phrase, “ I am a part of Charlotte and Charlotte is a part of me.” What have I learned? The Great Recession brought the greater lull as businesses came to a standstill, as real estate almost stopped. Lives stopped, jobs stopped, money stopped to some not to all. There are always cats at the coliseum. We, I, am looking back, over my shoulder and mostly now looking forward. Besides the Great Recession I experienced the siege of cancer with all the trappings of chemo therapy, radiation and surgery and damage control to mitigate the side effects. I stopped. “I am a part of Charlotte and Charlotte is a part of me.” I changed, we change.
Once the dust began to clear, once the money started loosening up, once the great tides of foreclosure stated to wane, once the adjustment so many of us, yes, “Us”, faced and held on and stretched to find a way or slide back, once we got our footing, once the looting had faded, not gone, but stepped back to reshape itself, we begin again. I begin again. We have changed. The wave forward is coming like a tsunami to our city. And in every direction: to the east in Concord-Kannapolis, to the south in Fort Mill and Rock Hill, to the west at both the lake and the airport and to the north, the lake, the townships, the techno highway to server farms from all over the world, even China, stretch up Lincolnton way.
And more are coming. More are coming because the green pastures that stretch within our country and around our county are indeed green and the glint of gold shoots through the ground once again and gold is on everyone’s mind. The corporations come from other countries, other hubs, other lands bringing their people for jobs and money for development of farms that once stood idle, manufacturing complexes that shut down keeping only their ghosts.
But it is inside the city that I feel the wrenching of growth as old homes are torn down, old buildings are rendered dust, the streets change, parks spring up, all whispering, “Come to Charlotte, bring your families, life is good, come to Charlotte.” All of this could be good, but once again we are wiping out our past laying glory to the future as though the future will be perfect and never disappoint us. The future glimmers in our mind of prosperity, children playing on green lawns, a center city where folks play and work and thrive. But do we have to tear down what nurtured our hearts; do we have to demolish that which gave us a sense of place, landmarks for knowing where home is?
As I, too, reboot, survey the playing field, assess the players, observe the ebb and flow, I feel the undertow. And I see the moments where we change from one revolution to the next.